Mexico is the country of contrasts. The climate there is tropical with rainy and dry seasons, and it varies a lot from region to region. For example, its coastal plains are covered with rainforests, while in the North of the country we find deserts with dry steppe vegetation. This climate distinction made the flora of Mexico quite diverse – from prickly cacti to delicate and colorful gladioli.
Let’s dive deeper into this mysterious world of Mexican flora. Here’s the list of the most popular flowers native to Mexico that can be used in bouquets and floral compositions.
1) Mexican Sunflower
This bright flower, whose scientific name is Tithonia Rotundifolia, will destroy your idea of what sunflowers can look like. Its fiery yellow, orange or even red petals with a yellowish center immediately attract attention. And I’m talking not only about people — Mexican sunflowers are virtually magnets for monarch butterflies, which, apparently, find their pollen very yummy.
2) Chocolate Cosmos
Cosmos atrosanguineus, more commonly known as chocolate cosmos, is another rare flower native to Mexico. It is claimed to be nearly extinct in the world, but in this sunny country it grows quite abundantly. These unique blooms with brownish-red petals have a very peculiar smell reminiscent of chocolate. That is probably the main reason why this plant is so carefully cultivated.
Unlike the previous type of flowers, dahlias grow all across America, although they are primarily found in Mexico. These gorgeous blooms have a variety of colors and sizes, from pale yellow to vibrant purple petals. In 1963, dahlias were chosen as the national flower of Mexico. Probably, it was partly due to their tubers, which were used by Aztecs for food before the Spanish conquest.
Are you charmed by these powerful flowers, too? Good news! We have a bouquet with dahlias and roses, which is available for order.
4) Mexican Frangipani
These unforgettable blooms are one of the hallmarks of Mexico found in every tour guide and travel blog. The reason for this is the fact that they have some distinctive tropical vibes and sweet scent. Frangipani has more than 300 varieties. Can you imagine? Pre-hispanic Mesoamerican civilizations attached a significant importance to these flowers, creating legends about them. For example, in the Maya civilization frangipani was a symbol of life and fertility. The Aztecs grew frangipani in the gardens of nobles, because it was considered to be the plant of the elite.
5) Laelia Orchid
Laelia Orchids are exotic flowering plants that are common in Central and South America. They resemble stars in their shape, with two lower petals and three upper petals. Laelias come in a variety of colors, depending on the species. An interesting fact about these gorgeous blooms is that they are epiphyte (or air) plants. It means that they need another plant for physical support. Their sponge-like roots can grow into a tree and store water, that is why they tolerate droughts easily.
6) Mexican Lady’s Slipper
Cypripedium, or lady’s slipper, is another Mexican flower pertaining to the orchid family. However, it is widespread across many countries, including the United States, most European countries, Russia and even China. Its peculiar name is due to the fact that cypripedium’s lip has the shape of a slipper. This little slipper has a special function – it attracts insects that fertilize the plant by bringing and receiving pollen. Usually the lip of this flower differs in color from the petals, but there can be variations.
7) Yucca Flower
Unlike the previous 6 native Mexican plants, yucca is a large plant with long, sword-shaped leaves and whitish blooms. Their unusual shape makes yucca a popular ornamental plant grown in the gardens in both the North and South Americas. Yucca’s petals are often used in cooking. For example, in Guatemala it is customary to make for dinner tortitas de yuca, thick round pancakes, which are usually eaten with tomato sauce. Yucca is the state flower of New Mexico and the national flower of El Salvador.
8) Mexican Morning Glory
The scientific name of this bright tropical flower is Ipomoea tricolor. Morning Glories usually grow on the walls of houses, which makes them a popular choice for decorating the house facade. These lovely blooms open in the morning and fade after the sunset. They are usually pink and sky-blue with the white center. That is why they got their name, because “tricolor” means “of three colors”. One of its varieties, Heavenly Blue, has a wonderful ability to change colors during blossom. Its red petals gradually become blue due to the increase in the pH level.
9) Sword Lily
Sword lilies are also called gladioli (or gladiolus in the singular). Available in a wide range of colors, sword lilies are remarkable for their eye-catching spikes of funnel-shaped blooms. As they also resemble swords, some people believe that gladioli were given to gladiators as the symbol of victory. Nowaday, these flowers are largely used during the celebrations on the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Their bouquets are displayed on tombstones and altars as a symbol of remembrance.
Surprise! These gorgeous blooms are also available on our website. Our florists have created an amazing bouquet of roses, chrysanthemums and pale-pink gladioli. Don’t lose your chance to order the flowers of victorious gladiators.
10) Mexican Marigold
Mexican Marigold, known in botanical books as Tagetes lemmonii, is appreciated for its vibrant colors and a mind-blowing scent. When you touch these sunny flowers, their leaves give off a very strong fragrance reminiscent of mint and lemon. Deers are discouraged by this smell, but insects, such as butterflies and bees, simply love it! Attracted by this musky fragrance, they fertilize Mexican marigolds, helping them live longer. These flowers are also rich in carotenoids (yellow, orange and red pigments), which is why they are largely used as food pigments.
11) Mexican Hat Flower
This unusual species of pretty wildflowers is scientifically known as Ratibida columnifera. It was named “hat flower” because this long-headed coneflower resembles a Mexican sombrero. In Summer it blooms with dark red and yellow flowers. Usually these cuties grow in large groups in the meadow. Their leaves can be used to produce tea, which is excellent for relieving stomach aches.
12) Mexican Passionflower
These slightly odd-looking green flowers have a bright yellow center, five large sepals and a red or violet-purple corona. It also has a round green fruit. Moreover, passionflower’s leaves are delicious food for butterfly caterpillars. An easy way to spot these plants is by their smell. Passionflowers emit a distinctive scent reminiscent of mothballs. Unfortunately, like many tropical flowers, passiflora mexicana blooms only one day. However, it is not that bad, as it has many buds that bloom one after another.
In conclusion, Mexican flora is very diverse and fascinating. During our little excursion we’ve come across large yucca plants and tiny hat flowers, chocolate-smelling cosmos atrosanguineus and passionflower with a distinctive chemical smell. Some of these plants are only found in Mexico or North America, while others can be easily grown in your garden.
One thing is clear: Mexico is definitely worth visiting even for the sake of seeing these unique beautiful flowers. But if you can’t do that just now, consider getting to know these plants by ordering a bouquet. We’ve already mentioned our delicate arrangements with gladioli and dahlias, but you can browse through the catalog and choose something to your liking.
And for those who live in Mexico and wish to order a bouquet there, we highly recommend reading the answers to the most frequently asked questions about flower delivery to Mexico.